Presented on Wednesday, May 5, 2010 at the Quarry Farm Barn. Lance Heidig is a Reference and Instruction Librarian in Research and Learning Services at Cornell University and is an independent scholar of Mark Twain.
One does not necessarily think of Cornell University when one is pondering the life and legacy of Samuel Langhorne Clemens, but Mark Twain did. Several of the stories that he remembered late in his life and dictated for his Autobiography (the 1924 edition edited by Albert Bigelow Paine) contain references to and anecdotes about Cornell and the friends and acquaintances that he had there. Mark Twain and Cornell -- the “first truly American writer” and the “first truly American university” as they have been called -- share a rich history of associated friends and family, including four generations of Langdons who have been Cornellians. As Mark Twain has noted: “All schools, all colleges, have two great functions: to confer, and to conceal, valuable knowledge.” While much is known about the twenty summers that Clemens spent in Elmira, less has been said about his connections to nearby Ithaca. Concealed knowledge will be conferred.